Slaughter and May is preparing to overhaul its relationships with Australian firms if Linklaters goes ahead with an exclusive alliance with local leader Allens Arthur Robinson (AAR).
Linklaters and AAR are both set to vote next month on a tie-up – first reported by The Lawyer last month (28 February 2012) – that would see the magic circle firm oust Slaughter and May as the Australian leader’s ally.
The UK corporate powerhouse is planning to spread its ties more widely and is considering a range of options, including entering into informal referral relationships with a number of local firms and sending lawyers to Australian firms on secondment.
Although Linklaters and AAR are planning a vote next month, partners Down Under are split over the deal, with some understood to be undecided over the benefits of cutting off ties with other firms if they are not sharing Linklaters’ profits.
“If it’s not going to be profit-sharing, why would you want to tie yourselves to a firm?” a source close to the deal commented.
Slaughters currently has a non-exclusive referral relationship with AAR, but the City firm’s best friends network is known to be less formal outside Europe than its ties with European firms such as German powerhouse Hengeler Mueller and French firm Bredin Prat.
Linklaters and Slaughter and May declined to comment. AAR could not be reached for comment.